Saturday, December 19, 2015

The Power of God-Given Imagination by Ray McCollum

We have been created with a basic instinct to imagine, McCollum writes. We envision a better world. While not everyone can change a nation, we can change the world around us he says. This book is about discovering the power within to dream, to imagine, and to change the world around us.

McCollum helps readers discover what that power is. Based on Gen. 11:6 he writes, “God Himself says that there is enough power in our human imagination to make all things possible.” (33) We create the reality in our mind first (first creation), then in the physical world (second creation). He notes that there will be real problems during the process and that we must maintain hope.

He ends his book with seven practical disciplines to activate God-given imagination. They include taking an honest look at your life, learning to practice the presence of God, get in touch with your true identity in Christ, and four more. These are disciplines that will definitely take some time to cultivate.

I felt that there were some mixed messages in this book. “The circumstances that you see around you have been created by the images within yourself,” he writes. (38) But then he has “the presupposition that life is difficult because we are living in a sinful world.” (56) So do we create our external circumstances or are they part of living in a sinful world?

I felt another mixed message was one about prayer. If we have ever had an answer to prayer, receiving what we prayed for, “Your prayer created the future,” he says. (79) But then he goes on to write about prayer “requests.” So, did my prayer create the imagined answer or did God in His sovereignty do so?

McCollum writes, “When we create things, we fulfill God's will for our lives.” (50) If it were only that simple. I Thess. 4:3ff reminds us that God's will for us is much more than just creating. It involves sanctification, sexual purity, bodily discipline, and not taking advantage of another Christian.

Sometimes McCollum makes grand statements. For example, when writing about inner transformation, he says, “Transformation is no more difficult than simply looking at yourself in a mirror. But it has to be the right mirror,” he adds, noting that it must be the mirror of God's Word. Ah, if it were only that easy. His statement is based on 2 Cor. 3:18 but I have read books entirely devoted to that verse and the necessity of renewing one's mind, surrendering to the work of the Holy Spirit, etc.

McCollum tells us that we can change the world around us. But he also writes, “The truth is that there certainly are things coming our way that are out of our control.” (76) He writes, “Yet God invites us to be 'co-creators' of the future through prayer.” (79) So do we create the future or is it under God's sovereign control?

There is some good teaching in this book. I really appreciated his writing on our self-image and how that determines our outer behavior. I also appreciated his reminding us that our motives need to be right when using our God-given imagination to create. I appreciated him reminding us that we need to pray according to God's will.

That last issue, reminding us to pray according to God's will, recognizes God's sovereign role in our “creating.” I do wish there had been more emphasis on God's plan for our future and less on our own.

My rating: 3/5 stars.

Ray McCollum has been a pastor, businessman, Bible teacher, speaker, church planter, and founder of Bethel World Outreach Center in Brentwood, Tennessee. In 2009, he and his son planted Celebration Church in the Nashville area.

Whitaker House, 190 pages.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through The Book Club Network for the purpose of an independent and honest review.

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